AIFF MEDIA TEAM
BENGALURU: Hometown club FC Bengaluru United will face off against Hero I-League Qualifiers debutants Madan Maharaj FC on Friday, October 8 at 3:45 PM IST at the Bangalore Football Stadium. FC Bengaluru United (FCBU) will be playing their second match of competition, after drawing their opening match 1-1 against Rajasthan United FC, while Madhya Pradesh based club Madan Maharaj FC (MMFC) will be opening their maiden I-League Qualifiers campaign. The match will be streamed live on the Hero I-League’s official Facebook page.
FC Bengaluru United were left ruing missed opportunities from their opening match, and head coach Richard Hood and captain Dharmaraj Ravanan expressed their intent to turn things around in tomorrow’s encounter.
Ravanan said in a pre match press conference that his team will focus on grabbing all three points from the next match. He said, “The mood in the dressing room is that the result was not satisfactory in the last game. The focus for the next match is to secure a win, that’s it. We played a good match last time around, and now we need to work on finishing off the chances we create and be more clinical going forward.”
Head coach Richard Hood pointed out what he wishes to see from his team on the pitch in the clash against MMFC. Hood said, “We need to be more consistent over the 90 minutes and not allow ourselves to drop our levels during phases of the game. We need to continue doing what we know works for us and give a better performance and aim to be more professional throughout.”
On the other end of the fixture, Madan Maharaj will be playing their first match and begin their campaign with a fresh slate. The team aims to be the first team from Madhya Pradesh to become a part of the I-League. MMFC mentor and player Mehtab Hossain spoke in the virtual press conference before the match.
He said, “There is a good mix in the team of new, young and experienced players. The mood in the camp is upbeat as everyone is eager to step out and compete at this level. Even I am eager to get back out there, as I have been away from competition at this level for close to two years. So there is a lot of excitement for the match, which is a positive thing.”
Head coach of MMFC Amit Jaiswal spoke in the pre match press conference to highlight the club’s road the Qualifiers. He mentioned the balance approach that the club has opted for, which involved conducting trials in August to select talented local players, and then making astute signings to bring in experienced players to help the team. He mentioned the key role that Mehtab Hossain has played as a mentor in structuring the technical makeup of the side.
In pre season, MMFC trained for two weeks in Gwalior, before moving to Kolkata in search of competitive matches against other sides. After spending 3 weeks in Kolkata, the team came to Bengaluru, where they have conducted training sessions to get used to the conditions.
Speaking about tomorrow’s opponents, Jaiswal began by congratulating FCBU on reaching the semi-final of the Durand Cup. He then said, “FCBU are a tough team and a good opponent, but we are prepared to play these tough matches against good teams. Our last pre season match was against Sudeva Delhi FC, where we got a positive result as well. So our focus is on relying on our own preparation and process, and maintaining the confidence to play our game in the match. Our objective is to do well here and play a part in uplifting football in Madhya Pradesh.”
The match will potentially see long time teammates and veterans Mehtab Hossain and Sanju Pradhan line up against each other in midfield.